A California federal judge has given a final blessing to a $13 million cy pres settlement resolving allegations that Google illegally gathered Wi-Fi network data with its Street View car fleet, despite objections from a number of state attorneys general that the deal doesn’t directly benefit consumers.
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer gave his stamp of approval Wednesday to the cy pres settlement — one paid to charities instead of to class members — that ends the putative class action against Google and gives about $10 million to eight nonprofit organizations with a history of addressing online consumer privacy issues.
The judge said this case — regarding whether Google violated the Wiretap Act by allowing its Street View cars to collect data sent over unencrypted Wi-Fi networks as they cruised through the streets — has helped develop the jurisprudence surrounding internet privacy.
The settlement requires Google to destroy all the data it gathered, and to refrain from gathering protected data from users with its Street View vehicles without notice and consent.
The plaintiffs are represented by Jeffrey L. Kodroff, John A. Macoretta and Mary Ann Geppert of Spector Roseman & Kodroff PC; Daniel A. Small and Robert W. Cobbs of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC; and Elizabeth J. Cabraser, Michael W. Sobol and Melissa Gardner of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP.
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